4 Skills You Need To Break into The Film Industry

Everyone’s selling something. The entertainment industry is no different, all filmmakers; be they directors, writers, producers, or even actors are all connected by their need to sell themselves, sell their business, and ultimately sell their story.

As I’ve made my own way in the business, through the various meetings I’ve had I noticed a common skillset that industry figures seemed to look for. This is how they make their decision on whether or not someone is a “safe bet”,  especially when you are seeking Funding for a feature. Lets break it down and look at some of the examples mentioned above.

Tim Robbins in The Player

Tim Robbins as big shot studio executive in The Player

 The Filmmaker: Key Skillsets

 

1. Technical

Director: Technical knowledge of the filmmaking process.

Writer: Write a well-polished industry formatted, and structured script.

Producer: Understand the nuts and bolts of the industry.

Actor: Experience of craft in TV/Film or Stage.

 2. Artistic

Director: Visual style, mastery of chosen genre.

Writer:  Strong character development. Engaging writing style.

Producer:  Good nose for a story, able to spot and use talent.

Actor: Ability to make bold interesting character choices.

3. Personal

Director: Great Diplomacy skills, reliable. Approachable.

Writer: Personable, reliable, flexible.

Producer: Excellent Diplomacy skills, confident, driven.

Actor: Friendly, Charming, reliable.

4. Storytelling

Director: Ability to convey a story using talent, the script and visual style.

Writer: Confident use of technical skills to produce a compelling story.

Producer: Able to manage an idea from initial concept through to production.

Actor: Turn a script into a living character, engage the audience.

le-dernier-nabab-the-last-tycoon-04-1977-5-g

Robert De Niro playing Studio Exec Monroe, Jack Nicholson as head of Screenwriters Union and Theresa Russell are engaged in a heated meeting in The Last Tycoon (1976).

Interesting to note that often the personal skillsets weighed far more importantly than the artistic or technical abilities. Ultimately people want to work with those who they feel they’ll get along with, no one wants to work with a Diva. Also I do think that most of us place more focus on the Artistic and technical skills and we often inadvertently forget those key personal skills. Every meeting we have, every email sent, every phone call we make, we will be judged on all these different qualities. With that in mind it certainly makes sense to continue developing all of them.

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